A Handshake in Thought


Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

A public education exhibit, 2009
Prints of artist’s paintings, artist’s writings, science quips, The Bedroom corner set from recycled 60-year old antique farmhouse, fake sunflowers in wooden pots


Just like the film, VAN GOGH: Brush with Genius, we hope to bring our contemporary audience some of van Gogh’s insights that we find astoundingly relevant despite nearly 120 years after his passing. The artist’s writings are excerpts from his letters* to his beloved brother and art patron, Theo.

van Gogh consistently signed off all his letters, sometimes just “with a handshake”; other times with “a hearty handshake in thought”, and occasionally, he adds: “and, believe me.” He always ends with, “Yours, Vincent.” Poignantly, this was notably absent in his last letter. When you read his letters, you can’t help but get this sense that he was writing beyond Theo; one senses he was, in fact, addressing the future generations – us! Van Gogh speaks directly to us even now through his paintings, drawings, writings and indeed, his life. We hope you may be inspired to return his extended handshake and hold it in your thoughts as you begin your exploration of a grand Master’s incredible journey where art and life was simply inseparable.


*Through the Letters of Vincent van Gogh edited by Mark Roskill, Touchstone, Nov 2008 paperback edition.

This exhibition was commissioned and heartily supported by the Singapore Science Centre.


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